Citizenship applications

Permanent residents of 18 years of age or older who wish to apply for Canadian citizenship must show that they:

  • have lived in Canada for at least three (1095 days) of the four years preceding the date of application,
  • be able to communicate in English or French (adults 55 years of age or older are exempted), and
  • have adequate knowledge of Canada and of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship (adults 55 years of age or older are exempted).

Persons with a criminal record, facing criminal charges or subject to immigration enforcement action may be ineligible for citizenship.

Note: an applicant cannot meet the residence requirements for citizenship without a minimum of 2 years as a permanent resident.

Whether the residency obligation has been met is analyzed by either the quantitative or the qualitative test. Under the quantitative test, or “strict count of days test,” the only determining factor is whether the applicant has met the 1095 days (within the preceding four years) requirement. The qualitative test comes in two varieties: the “central mode of living test” and the “substantial connection” test. By the former, not meeting the quantitative requirement does not strictly preclude an applicant from being a Canadian citizen if it can be shown that the applicant centralizes his/her ordinary mode of living in Canada. Similarly, under the latter test, the applicant is not barred from acquiring citizenship if he/she can show a substantial connection to Canada. The Citizenship Judge generally reserves the right to decide which of the three recognized tests will be applied in any given case.

In case of denial, it is important to seek legal advice to ascertain whether there are any grounds warranting an appeal at the Federal Court.